Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

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Episode 17: Out at Sea

A report in Massachusetts found cases of serious abuse and neglect at a private special education school, illuminating a larger problem. Also this hour, we head to Block Island, Rhode Island, where the nation’s first offshore wind farm is about to get spinning. And on Soundcloud: from Brady to Big Papi to Bentley, Only A Game‘s Bill Littlefield gives us his take on New England sports culture.

What’s Wrong With Special Ed?

Marie walks with her 13-year-old son, who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, as he rides his bike through their Norfolk neighborhood during the first weeks of summer vacation. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Marie walks with her 13-year-old son, who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, as he rides his bike through their Norfolk neighborhood during the first weeks of summer vacation. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A recent report from the Boston-based Disability Law Center found widespread abuse and neglect at a private special education school in Middleborough, a town in the southeast corner of Massachusetts. The report detailed verbal and emotional abuse by staff, and inadequate supervision resulting in runaway students, medication errors, and more.

An administrative building on the Chamberlain School's Middleborough campus. (Shannon Dooling/WBUR)

An administrative building on the Chamberlain School’s Middleborough campus. (Shannon Dooling/WBUR)

There are worries that the problems seen at Chamberlain International School might be more widespread.

WBUR and the investigative journalism unit “The Eyeinvestigated private special education schools that serve some of the most vulnerable students in Massachusetts.

For parents, figuring out which of these schools is the right fit for their child can be a complicated maze, even as the demand for special education grows.

We’re joined by WBUR reporter Shannon Dooling.

 

The Sea Breeze Is More Than Refreshing



Turbines at the country’s first offshore wind farm, located about 15 miles from the coast of Rhode Island, are set to begin turning after operators Deep Water Wind get the final sign-off from regulators, expected before the end of the year. The five turbines are expected to provide most of the power for Block Island, a tourist destination and home to about 1,000 people. The Block Island Wind Farm is tiny by global standards, but it’s the culmination of many years of negotiations between wind power companies, governments, and advocacy groups.

Greg Cunningham, an attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, says the project represents just a taste of what’s possible for wind power generation in New England coastal waters.

U.S. Department of Energy estimates of wind resource potential. (Credit: NREL)

U.S. Department of Energy estimates of wind resource potential (Credit: NREL)

One of the concerns about offshore wind has been the impact on the environment. Not just birds, but also fish that swim nearby. A small crew of fishermen has been working with scientists to gather data and learn how fishing will or won’t change around the Block Island turbines. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Ambar Espinoza reports.

Root for the Home Team

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, nicknamed "Big Papi," bids goodbye to fans this month after losing to the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park earlier this month. The game marked Ortiz's retirement. (Credit: Charles Krupa/AP)

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, nicknamed “Big Papi,” bids goodbye to fans after losing to the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park in October. The game marked Ortiz’s retirement. (Credit: Charles Krupa/AP)

As a region, New England is held together by history and tradition, geography and politics. But what about sports?

There are, of course, the Patriots — the only NFL team to use a region to define its territory. They’re a powerhouse, off to another great start, despite their star Tom Brady missing games at the beginning of the season due to the deflategate controversy. They’ve only really held a grip on New England since the 1990s, and they’re as likely to be loathed outside of our region as loved within it.

Then there’s Red Sox Nation, a fan base with a deep-seated love of the baseball team from Boston that stretches from Maine, across to Vermont, and south to (most of) Connecticut.

We wanted to find out more about the sporting culture of New England, and the role that sports can play in helping to define us… so we turn to Bill Littlefield, the longtime host of Only a Game, a weekly NPR show about sports that’s produced at WBUR in Boston.

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at WNPR.
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Andrea Muraskin
Executive Producer: Catie Talarski
Digital Content Manager/Editor: Heather Brandon
Contributors to this episode: Shannon Dooling, Ambar Espinoza and Bill Littlefield
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Family and Genus” by Shaky Graves, “Sweet Caroline” by the O’Neill Brothers, “Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys

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